There are many ways to quit smoking and they all vary in effectiveness from person to person. Some people prefer to cut down gradually before quitting completely, while others insist that "cold turkey" is the only way to go. Still others feel the need to take nicotine replacement products like gum, lozenges, and inhalers; and some prefer prescription medication to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
There are also plenty of alternative methods that can help in quitting smoking, like acupuncture (insertion of fine needles into pressure points on the body), aromatherapy to induce feelings of calmness and peace, 12-step programs like nicotine Anonymous (similar to the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous), and hypnotic suggestion to override the desire to smoke.
With so many choices, how do you know which method will work for you? That depends on a few factors. Consider first which aspect of quitting smoking is most difficult for you; the physical withdrawal symptoms, emotional dependence, or psychological habit.
- Physical withdrawal symptoms
If you have no trouble abstaining from the act of smoking but find yourself caving under the pressure of physical cravings for nicotine, you may be more successful with the use of nicotine replacement products. nicotine gum, patches, lozenges and inhalers can be helpful in getting you through the first several weeks of cravings, and most of them offer a plan for gradually reducing your nicotine intake to minimize discomfort.
- Emotional turbulence.
On the other hand, managing the physical cravings may be easy for you, but you end up feeling like an emotional "basket case" when you can't smoke - crying and cringing at the slightest challenge. If so, you are more connected to smoking on an emotional level, and you may find relief with hypnosis, meditation, and other alternative treatments like acupuncture or acupressure. Even deep breathing and rigorous exercise can help calm your emotions - if for no other reason than they distract you temporarily.
- Psychological connection.
If your biggest challenge in quitting smoking is feeling like you have been cut adrift and don't quite know what to do with yourself, you may find it helpful to take up a hobby that requires the use of your hands. Knitting, crocheting, painting, woodworking and gardening are great ways to keep yourself busy and overcome feelings of restlessness.
If necessary, you can even combine more than one method to manage multiple facets of withdrawal. No matter which method(s) you choose, clarifying the reasons you most often smoke and coming up with coping strategies to deal with the inevitable reactions will go a long way in ensuring your success as a non-smoker.
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